Pumpkin Spice Caramels (and common mistakes people make when making caramels)

pumpkin spice caramels recipe with sea salt

Tell me: Are you a good news first or bad news first kinda person?

Trick question.

Today there’s only lots of good news.

Good News #1: I’m giving away my favorite spatulas! More on this below.

Good News #2: By the end of this article I will hopefully dispel any fears you may have about making caramel.

Good News #3: About a month ago I hired a professional graphic and web designer to redesign Fifteen Spatulas…and it’s almost done! I’ve seen the previews and it looks amazing. Every time I see how great the new design looks I start dancing like this:

Only cuter. Though Chandler is pretty adorable here isn’t he? Gosh I miss Friends.

But for now let’s talk about Good News #2, the caramel.

A lot of people think caramel is hard to make. If this is you, don’t worry, I used to feel totally dumbfounded by caramel too. I tried recipe after recipe but something always seemed to get screwed up. Eventually I discovered what I was doing wrong and since then I’ve realized that caramel is actually very easy as long as you follow some rules. Let’s talk about some of the problems with caramel:

Problem #1: When you start the caramel by putting the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a pan, a little OCD person inside of you says “look at how undistributed those ingredients are, stir it, STIR IT!!!!”

Tell that evil voice to shut up and do not stir it. Otherwise, this will be the death of your caramel before you even began, and your caramel will crystallize and get gritty. Even though the ingredients look undistributed, it will all eventually melt into a very homogenous sugar syrup, like this:

how to make soft pumpkin caramels

Problem #2: caramel requires patience + human beings are not patient = burned caramel

When you make caramel, you need to watch it. Caramel is a diva, you see. It’s going to take its sweet time getting brown at all, then when you turn your back to the stove for two seconds to get a spoon, it’s practically on fire (okay, I’m exaggerating a little).  It’s in our nature to look for shortcuts and do things faster but keep the heat at medium and be patient with it.

After the sugar turns clear, it will start to develop a golden honey amber color, like this:

how to make pumpkin caramels

To make these caramels pumpkin-y, heat up some cream, pumpkin puree, butter, and spices in the microwave:

pumpkin spice caramels recipe butter and cream

Give it a good stir and you’ll have a pumpkin cream mixture:

pumpkin soft caramels recipe

Standing back (it will bubble ferociously), add the pumpkin cream to your amber sugar syrup:

Pumpkin spice caramels recipe

And this brings us to…

Problem #3: You don’t have the right tools.

You can follow all the necessary rules for making caramel but if you don’t start with the proper equipment, your journey to caramel will be rough.

  • Use a heavy pan with a thick bottom. If you make your caramel in a super crappy, thin bottomed pan, the bottom layer of your caramel will likely scorch.
  • Use an accurate thermometer. You need to cook this to the soft ball stage, to 248 degrees F. There’s no way you can guess that. Spend $20 and get a thermometer like this if you don’t have one. There are several brands that make some well rated thermometers in the $20 range.
  • Use a good spatula that can scrape the bottom of the pan well. Okay, so you’re probably wondering how can you use a spatula if you’re not supposed to stir? After you’ve fortified the caramel with butter and cream, you can stir the caramel without risking crystallization.

soft pumpkin puree caramels recipe

Which brings me back to Good News #1. I’m pretty sure I’ve found my dream spatula.

I’ve had spatulas snap in half in my hands (no more plastic spatulas for me).

I’ve had spatulas taint my food with unwanted smells and tastes that they’ve absorbed.

And I’ve had ones that were pretty good quality, but I had to hand wash them. I hate handwashing dishes. Stop for a moment and think about this blog, then think about how many dishes you might imagine I do. Yes, it’s a lot.

This dream spatula goes straight in the dishwasher, is heat resistant to 500 degrees F, and has good heft and quality to it…and it’s pretty =)

It’s made by a small family-owned company named Dexas. They sent me some of their tools to try about a month back, and since I loved them so much, I asked if they would do a giveaway for my readers! Update: this giveaway is closed. Congrats to Jenny for winning and thanks to all who entered!

pumpkin puree caramels Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Spice Caramels

Yield: 8x8 pan

Pumpkin Spice Caramels


  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/16 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • good quality sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan (don't stir it together) and cook over medium heat until amber colored (approximately 10 minutes). Again, don't stir during this process (you risk crystallizing the caramel), just swirl it gently in the pan if you need to move it around a bit.
  3. In the meantime, heat the cream, pumpkin puree, butter, salt, and all the spices together until melted, either in a saucepan or in the microwave.
  4. Once the sugar syrup has turned to an amber color, slowly and carefully pour in the pumpkin cream mixture, being aware that the caramel will bubble up a lot (wear oven mitts if you're concerned).
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and cook for about 15 more minutes until it reaches 248 on a thermometer (the soft ball stage), adding the vanilla extract right before it reaches 248. Pour into the parchment lined dish and refrigerate for a few hours until hard enough to cut into squares, then sprinkle the tops with a little bit of sea salt. Enjoy!


Recipe note: You can substitute the spices in this recipe with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice if you have that on hand. Recipe note #2: I've made this both with an electric stove and a gas stove, and as expected, cooking with a gas stove will go much quicker. Be sure to keep your eye on the caramel.


Copyright Notice: Fifteen Spatulas images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials without prior permission.

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

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183 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • avatar Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! September 28, 2012, 11:16 am

    I want to make caramels and now I have tips. Thanks!

  • avatar Christel September 28, 2012, 11:22 am

    Right now, I’d just be happy to have a kitchen again (I’m gutting and renovating my house). But when I had a kitchen and baked a lot I used a spoonula for everything. I remember when I first saw a spoonula, I thought ‘that is the best idea ever!’. It’s perfect for scraping bowls and folding ingredients into batter.

  • avatar Christel September 28, 2012, 11:26 am

    I’m now following Dexas on Twitter

  • avatar Christel September 28, 2012, 11:28 am

    And I just liked Dexas on Facebook! I’m thinking of picking up a purple spoonula from them as a kitchen warming gift to myself when it’s done!

  • avatar Sarah September 28, 2012, 11:43 am

    I liked Dexas and am now following them on Twitter!

    The first thing that came to mind when you asked what our favorite kitchen utensil is was my garlic press. It may be a more “boring” utensil, but it is probably the most used (and most loved!). I LOVE garlic, and will find any excuse to use it or try it in a recipe. What I don’t love is mincing garlic on my own, so I almost always press it. Easy, fast and gets the job done! I also like to believe that pressing the garlic makes the flavor come out just a little bit more.

    • avatar Mary Nixon September 28, 2012, 2:54 pm

      I have a kitchen full of amazing tools. I agree with Sarah. The garlic press is one of my “must haves”. My, “grown up”, daughter agrees! She is accumulating things for her first “no room mate” apartment. She has very few kitchen items. She , only, asked to take 3 kitchen tools – the garlic press, a good saute pan, and the chopper.

  • avatar Meg September 28, 2012, 11:48 am

    This is going to sound silly, but my favorite kitchen tool is actually just the first high-quality knife my boyfriend got me for Christmas last year. I never understood why someone would want to spend a sizable chunk of change on a knife, but wow can I feel the difference! (For the record, it’s this Kyocera ceramic knife. And it’s pink. And I love Ming!)

    Thanks for the caramel tips and giveaway — please count me in!

  • avatar Anna September 28, 2012, 11:59 am

    NUM I had never though of adding a flavor like pumpkin to caramels!

    My favorite kitchen tool is my le creuset small french oven that I found at a moving sale for $5. So awesome for making soup and stew (and often, cheese sauces).

  • avatar Ji September 28, 2012, 12:10 pm

    I liked Dexas.

    My favorite kitchen tool are long chopsticks – long enough so that I won’t get burned, easy to pick up stuff, can stir with them – the possibilities are endless!

  • avatar jennifer September 28, 2012, 12:11 pm

    I LOVE my Pampered Chef potato masher! It makes mashing so much easier!

  • avatar Cyndi September 28, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Love your blog and love this recipe…will definitely try it as autumn here in New Hampshire and at our inn is filled with favors of the fall like pumpkin, squash, apples etc. My favorite kitchen tool is a wooden handled butter spreader with a bit of a serrated edge. Great for spreading cranberry mayo on sandwiches, putting on a cheese plate etc. I’ve had it for years and find it very useful!!

    • avatar Denise September 28, 2012, 12:32 pm

      Cyndi, please write me and tell me where I can purchase a wooden handled butter spreader. My son brought one back from Sweden some years ago, and it has vanished. I would really love another one.

  • avatar d September 28, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Yum caramels!!! Please count me in for the giveaway.

  • avatar Angie September 28, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Great tips…and this sounds so yummy! Can’t wait to try it. My favorite kitchen tool is an old fashioned pastry cutter. I have had it for years, and wouldn’t part with it! It’s old and plain…kind of like me, but it works so well I wouldn’t think of using anything else.

  • avatar Cheryl September 28, 2012, 12:19 pm

    I go through phases, but right now my favorite is my microplane grater. I use it for zesting, small bits of cheese, even grating gralic real small so no one gets a hue piece when they take a bite (not that I would mind, but some people….)
    I am now going to try caramel. Thanks for breaking it down. :-)

  • avatar Carol Davis September 28, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Love a Spoonula. Next would be a good quality knife. We are a house of foodies, and one son manages a restaurant, so we love our gadgets!

  • avatar susan marie September 28, 2012, 12:24 pm

    I love my immersion blender – so great for making creamy soups and getting the lumps out of gravy. It also has a whisk attachment I use for making whipped cream.

  • avatar susan marie September 28, 2012, 12:26 pm

    I also “liked” the Dexas Facebook page.

  • avatar Denise September 28, 2012, 12:28 pm

    I liked Dexas on FB. I love my immersion blender. Not that I use it much, but when I need it, it is invaluable, also my micro grater/zester. A good spatula would be, not only so needed and wanted, but well…needed and wanted about sums it up !

  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts September 28, 2012, 12:28 pm

    My favorite thing in the kitchen has to be my Global Knives – awesome, sharp, and couldn’t live without them!

    I have found that calibrating the thermomter is key for me. Altitude affects everything! I did caramels until 248 last year and they were hard as a rock. I had to do until 220 at my altitude to get them soft and chewy!

  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts September 28, 2012, 12:28 pm

    I also follow Dexas on Twitter

  • avatar Catherine Hoffman September 28, 2012, 12:30 pm

    My favorite kithen tool is the beautiful set of Global knives that my oldest son bought as a gift for me several years ago. I’m so excited to try my hand at making the carmels. You’ve taken the fear factor right out of it.

  • avatar Ann Mc September 28, 2012, 12:31 pm

    What a fun giveaway and I can’t wait to see your new page! It’s easy to say my favorite is my stand mixer…..and I love it, but I have a beautifully seasoned cast iron pan I’m currently seeing….and I think it’s true love!

  • avatar Denise September 28, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I’m up for your cool give-aways ! I am really thinking about trying these caramels…they sound wonderful, and with your great tutorial, I feel ‘confident’ ! Love your site !

  • avatar CJ at Food Stories September 28, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I miss friends too … Great tips :-)

  • avatar Tommy September 28, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Awesome how-to Joanne! Great looking caramels — never thought of a pumpkin spice flavor! My *favorite* kitchen tool? Wow, that’s hard. While it’s super tough to pick just one, right now I’m really loving my green silicone whisk. It’s mixes everything so well and it just feels so good in my hand. (Hmm. That sounds weirder than I thought. But you know what I mean.) :D

  • avatar Mary B September 28, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Pumpkin caramels – what a great new taste treat!

    My favorite kitchen tool is the ball whisk. It’s so much easier to use because you know that most of the ingredients stay in the bowl rather than getting stuck in a standard whisk.

  • avatar Barbara Johnson September 28, 2012, 12:48 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my micro plane zester with measuring shield. I love the handle and the measuring cup catcher for the zest or cheeses. It feels great and works perfect!! Great tool!!

  • avatar Libby September 28, 2012, 12:53 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is probably my wire wisk. I have 1 plastic coated one and four steel ones in different sizes depending on what I’m doing.

  • avatar Janet September 28, 2012, 12:53 pm

    I love love love my pampered chef baking stones! You will never bake cookies or pizzas on a baking sheet again. They turn out perfect everytime. Even someone like me (not real great in the kitchen) find it hard to mess them up! lol Thanks for the recipe I will be giving these a try real soon. And I am now following Dexas on facebook for the extra entry! :-)

  • avatar Mary smith September 28, 2012, 12:59 pm

    My favorite tool is my immersion blender. I rarely blend with it, though:) I use the chopper attachment for garlic, herbs, and other small chopping chores. I also love my silicone spatulas. I use them all of the time.

  • avatar Andrea September 28, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the great caramel recipe! Sounds delicious and perfect for fall.

    My favorite kitchen gadget is my cookie dough scoop. I look forward to baking cookies just so I can use this handy-dandy little scoop, and I’m guaranteed to have perfect sized cookies everytime.

  • avatar Andrea September 28, 2012, 1:09 pm

    and I liked Dexas on Facebook. :)

  • avatar Heather September 28, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I use my pizza cutter daily. We use it to cut up everything for the kids. Such a great tool.

  • avatar Heather September 28, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I “follow” Dexas on Twitter.

  • avatar Heather September 28, 2012, 1:15 pm

    I “like” Dexas on Facebook.

  • avatar Elizabeth September 28, 2012, 1:37 pm

    My favorite kitchen utensil would definitely be my cutco knives. I use them everyday!

  • avatar Susan September 28, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Cyndi, I too have a favorite butter spreader with a wooden handle and is serrated! I absolutely go to that for everything! My mother gave it to me when I moved into my first apartment. She got it from a catalog that you could purchase “points” or something and when you saved up enough, you could buy certain items. I also got my Pfaltzgraff dishes that way.

  • avatar jamie schnirch September 28, 2012, 1:52 pm

    My favorite tool (other then essentials like knives, cutting boards, pans, etc) is a silicon spatula! I can cook, scrape and serve with a rounded one. Plus, I just throw them into the dishwasher. I have many of them sitting in a crock next to my stove so that I can access what ever style I need at the moment. I keep them covered with a plastic bag though because they tend to attract grease! Ugh!

  • avatar Deborah September 28, 2012, 1:52 pm

    My new favorite kitchen tool is the Joseph Joseph Uni-tool, 5-In-1 Utensil. I use it so often, I should hang it from my neck. I always know where to find it… in the dishwasher. It is a slotted spoon, a turner, a solid spoon, a spatula and a cutting tool. It is made from a tough nylon and is heat resistant up to 480 degrees F.

  • avatar Liz September 28, 2012, 1:55 pm

    my favorite tool is a rubber spatula–the kind that are completely rubber.

  • avatar Jen September 28, 2012, 2:00 pm

    My favorite utensils, like Cyndi and Susan, are my two little serrated spreaders (from Pampered Chef)! The handles are plastic instead of wood, unfortunately, but it doesn’t matter. Two isn’t enough though, I never seem to have one clean and in the drawer when I need it!

  • avatar Shealyn September 28, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I’d have to say a good spatula. I’m a little OCD about the bowl being scrapped clean!

  • avatar Sandy September 28, 2012, 2:10 pm

    My favorite tool is my zester. The smell of the citrus always makes me stop and take a deep breath.

  • avatar Carolyn September 28, 2012, 2:11 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is anything in the Pampered Chef line. Seriously, I use the mini whisk and the mix and scrape spatulas every day. Having the right tools makes cooking easy and fun.

  • avatar Sandy September 28, 2012, 2:13 pm

    I now follow Dexas on Facebook

  • avatar debi September 28, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Thank you for the recipe and tutorial. I like the look of your site now so I can’t wait to see the new and improved version.

  • avatar debi September 28, 2012, 2:27 pm

    Oh and my favorite tool in the kitchen has to be my spoonula. I reach for it all the time. It’s great for mixing, scraping, scooping, etc.

    Thanks for the heads up on Dexas. I have liked them on FB.

  • avatar Sheyenne September 28, 2012, 2:33 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my mandolin.

  • avatar Jenny September 28, 2012, 2:53 pm

    These caramels look delicious! I love making caramel, and believe it or not, even though I stir the sugar while it’s dissolving, I always come out with crystal-free caramel.
    Which brings me to my favorite cooking tool, and that is a ball whisk. Love, love, love. My favorite is a WMF ball whisk with silicone tipped balls so that I can use it on all of my nonstick pans. It’s amazing for stirring just about anything.

    Thanks for the Dexas recommendation, I will definitely have to try one of their kitchen tools.

  • avatar Mary Nixon September 28, 2012, 3:04 pm

    My favorite tool is the flexible cutting boards from Pampered chef. They are colored coded red for meat, yellow for fruit, green for veggies. I use all three at once to prevent cross-contamination. Bend the edges together to shake things directly into the pot. They go in the dish washer. Storing them is easy because they are thinner than traditional cutting boards.

  • avatar Joanne September 28, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I love my pink-handled whisk….!

  • avatar Katelyn September 28, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I love spatulas! Before having one, I would use spoons it it’s not even close to spatulas

  • avatar Della C September 28, 2012, 3:24 pm

    My favorite kitchen tools are the OXO brand, just because of the big handles. I have arthritis, and it makes them much easier to grip on ouchie days. I have several other favorites for other reasons, but these are the ones that allow me to cook on days when I normally couldn’t.

  • avatar Jaqie September 28, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I am so excited that the pumpkin recipes are coming out~~!!! These look delicious! :)

  • avatar Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) September 28, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I don’t think I can wait till this contest is over. Those spatulas are a MUST BUY for me! Thanks for telling us about them. Ooh…and they have blue!

    Gosh, it’s hard to pick one favorite kitchen tool. I love all my babies! Probably one of the most used items in my kitchen is my 7″ Santoku knife by LamsonSharp. It just feels great in the hand. I can chop anything with that sucker, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to clean than my food processor (which I also love, by the way).

    P.S. Those caramels look AMAZING! I’m so trying them!

  • avatar Marilee Reyes September 28, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I have a lot of tools that I use frequently, but the one absolute I couldn’t live without is my chef’s knife. I even use it to peel things that would ordinarily be done with a peeler or paring knife. If it’s in my hand, I use it, and have for 35 years. And thanks for letting us know about Dexa
    s. I’m heading over there next to give them a BIG like. Love your site, as well. Going to get brave and try the caramels.

  • avatar Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) September 28, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Oh, it’s purple, not blue. Guess my iPad can’t tell the difference. :)

    I’m following them on Facebook now!

  • avatar Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) September 28, 2012, 3:44 pm

    And on twitter. ;)

  • avatar Gwynne September 28, 2012, 3:47 pm

    I love my gadgets – but my recent favorite toy is my microplane. I love how it can be used for so many things and is quick and easy to use. :)

  • avatar Elizabeth September 28, 2012, 4:05 pm

    I have lots of utensils and I love to try something new. I do have some utensils that I use only rarely but every year, like my food mill when I am canning applesauce and tomatoes. Or my ricer to prep potatoes to make lefse. I treat myself every mothers day with a new knife (I like Wuesthoff) or kettle (I like all-clad) gradually replacing all my original items from the 70′s and 80′s.

    I would have to say my favorite utensil is my frosting knife. It is so old, I don’t remember where or when I got it. It has a wooden handle, it is about 5 inches long and a narrow flexible blade. I wash it by hand as I am starting to worry about it’s demise . It puts the perfect swirl into cupcake frosting and dainty touches to the Christmas frosted cut out cookies. I never fail to check the kitchen department when I am at a store, looking for a backup.

  • avatar LeAnne September 28, 2012, 4:23 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my microplane!

  • avatar Pat September 28, 2012, 4:24 pm

    Definitely couldn’t live without a spoonula, (but have to admit I never knew what it was officially called before). I mean, a spoon AND spatula in one…it just doesn’t get any better than that!

  • avatar Ali September 28, 2012, 4:24 pm

    I would have to say my KitchenAid mixer is my favorite gadget. I use it so often it is always out!

  • avatar Ali September 28, 2012, 4:26 pm

    Following on twitter!

  • avatar MoiraAnn September 28, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I love the kitchen shears from Pampered Chef. I bought them 10 years ago, stuck them to the inside of a kitchen cabinet and use them almost every day!

  • avatar Becky September 28, 2012, 5:05 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool(s) are my spoon shaped spatulas!

  • avatar Heather H. September 28, 2012, 5:58 pm

    I have these magnetic measuring spoons (each have a teaspoon & tablespoon end) that are indespensible! I throw them on the fridge & they are always within reach.

  • avatar D Hinds September 28, 2012, 6:19 pm

    I love my microplane! Whether I’m zesting citrus, adding nutmeg (my not so secret ingredient), or chocolate – it is my go to item. :)

  • avatar Deb September 28, 2012, 6:32 pm

    My Kitchen Aid, if that counts as a tool, if not, my measuring spoons that have 1/2 T and 2 t. ;)

  • avatar Adeline September 28, 2012, 6:36 pm

    I love me a good spatula – definitely an essential in the kitchen!

  • avatar Rachel September 28, 2012, 6:44 pm

    My favorite tool is my cuisinart mini-prep…. I use it all the time. I guess it would be more of a “power” tool!

  • avatar Jennifer Johnston September 28, 2012, 7:19 pm

    Hey Joanne! <3 These look phenomenal! I'ma gonna need to to get myself a good candy thermometer so I can make these.

    My favorite kitchen tool is my pancake spatula. I would be beside myself with grief if it ever broke. It's nylon, flexible, and super thin so it slides under the pancakes with no problem. I also use it for cookies, French toast, anything that has a delicate crust on it.

  • avatar Lynne P September 28, 2012, 8:00 pm

    I’m old fashioned I guess, but I love my wooden spoons. They can be used in any pan, accept a high temperature, and just work well for me.

  • avatar Jessica September 28, 2012, 8:20 pm

    I had a spatula blade break into what I was stirring…granted, it was a cream cheese and marshmallow creme mixture (whoopie pie filling!) that I should have been using a stronger tool for. I picked it out and used a wooden spoon instead. My favorite kitchen tool is still a wooden spoon. Stirring anything with sourdough starter calls for non-metallic utensils, and the wood is strong enough to withstand thick batter or not-quite-kneadable dough while not reacting.

  • avatar Jennifer Q September 28, 2012, 9:18 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool would have to be the cheese shredder my husband found at a yard sale. It is the shredder and storage container all in one. It is brilliant and allows me to store freshly shredded cheese in the fridge easily (I hate store bought shredded cheese…its dry and that powder stuff they put all over it freaks me out a little).

  • avatar Gary September 28, 2012, 9:26 pm

    I have a draw-knife carved wooden spatula I picked up at a heritage festival many years ago. For some reason I reach for it more than any other spoon or spatula. It just works. Flipping, stirring, folding, scraping, … I will be very sad if it ever breaks.

  • avatar Jill September 28, 2012, 10:01 pm

    I LOVE my high-heat spatula soooooo much I take it on vacation and even to my family’s house so I can use to cook. It does so many things, but there’s nothing greater than getting ALL the great food out of a non-stick pan. And you can stir fry anything and not worry about the high heat. Truly the best invention for kitchen life!!!! Now I just have to collect FIFTEEN of them! ;)

  • avatar Jill September 28, 2012, 10:05 pm

    You know what? I can’t really choose a favorite kitchen tool….I mentioned my high-heat spatula in another msg, but I really love the cheese plane I got from my mom when she died. I love to use that and think of her so fondly. We both loved our cheese. I would choose cheese over chocolate if a doctor ever told me I had to choose one or the other for health reasons, yes I definitely would!!!!

  • avatar Eileen September 28, 2012, 10:06 pm

    What neat new tools.
    Since I’m not cooking much I guess for now my blender for protein drinks is at least what gets used everyday.

  • avatar Lisa September 28, 2012, 10:44 pm

    My Oven Mitts, I was always burning myself til I bought those.

  • avatar Niki September 28, 2012, 11:34 pm

    I love my Kitchen Aid mixer the best!

  • avatar Patricia Harris September 29, 2012, 2:00 am

    I looooooove my Shun Santoku knife! It’s amazing how pleasant the cutting/chopping tasks have become!

  • avatar Pam Thomas September 29, 2012, 7:00 am

    I have two equally important tools that I can’t live without – my KitchenAid stand mixer and my Chet’s knife.

  • avatar Kristin Bailey September 29, 2012, 7:05 am

    I love my kitchen aid stand mixer. I am baffled how I ever made anything without it.

  • avatar Kim K. September 29, 2012, 7:12 am

    It would be hard to live without my favorite chef’s knife and a microplane!

  • avatar Tiffany D. September 29, 2012, 8:29 am

    I love baster brushes because you can use them for so cooking methods, not just for grilling!!

  • avatar Brianna September 29, 2012, 8:38 am

    I don’t have a favorite kitchen tool but a spatula is one of them. I need a another spatula because I have one good one and two bad ones. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • avatar Anne September 29, 2012, 8:47 am

    My Kitchen Aid mixer :0)

  • avatar Anne September 29, 2012, 8:49 am

    I am following Dexas on facebook :0)

  • avatar Jenny September 29, 2012, 9:27 am

    I LOVE my flat bamboo spoon/spatula(Pampered Chef)! I use wood and bamboo a lot, because I’ve never found a silicone one I like even a little!

  • avatar Chrissy September 29, 2012, 9:35 am

    My favorite is a red rubber spatula I have had for several years. I don’t like wasting the batter that clings to the side of the bowl, and this thing doesn’t miss a thing.

  • avatar Barb September 29, 2012, 10:22 am

    Hands down My Kitchen aide I would be lost without it

  • avatar ravenspiritsong September 29, 2012, 10:44 am

    my fav kitchen tools are my new set of ja henckels knives!! although i am fickle…love my big wooden spoons too!!!

  • avatar Adelita Chirino September 29, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Hmmm, this does sound yummy. My mom used to boil a Borden’s sweetened condensed milk can in water for 3 hours, being careful never to let the water level fall below the can, and when it cooled, she’d remove both lids and push the gooey deliciousness out of the can. That was then; I’m afraid the can would explode, so I’ve never tried it. My favorite kitchen tool is my Cuisinart hand blender; it makes it so easy to blend those wonderful winter soups right in the pot without having to use a blender or food processor. I look forward to seeing your new web design, it looks rather lovely now.

  • avatar sharon September 29, 2012, 1:45 pm

    My mom has an old some kitchen gadgets from Italy (where she is from) she has an old food mill. I think it’s my favorite. However it could be the vintage potato masher.

  • avatar meredith September 29, 2012, 4:24 pm

    my kitchen tool is my wooden spoon – i use it for everything!

  • avatar meredith September 29, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I Like the Dexas Facebook page

  • avatar meredith September 29, 2012, 4:27 pm

    I Follow Dexas on Twitter @mermont84

  • avatar Mary September 29, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I love silicone spatulas. I even pack a couple when traveling to vacation spots that we will be cooking some meals in our room’s kitchen.

  • avatar Lynne H September 29, 2012, 7:39 pm

    I have 2 favs in the kitchen….my garlic press which just broke and my Vitamix machine. The Vitamix machine is versatile, works overtime and is easy to clean. I can make smoothies, soup, and grind grain using it…..

  • avatar Rita Ann Williamson September 29, 2012, 10:46 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is a spatula because I like to get every drop or crumb of food out of a container and I love the way they operate. I really would love to have a good one.

  • avatar Caryn Riley September 29, 2012, 11:05 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is an OXO peeler. Unlike others it peels vegetables in either direction, up or down. Depending on my energy level and how many hours in the kitchen, I love the choice of peeling direction.

  • avatar olena September 29, 2012, 11:22 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my knife! I love my ceramic knife, bc it’s speeds up the cooking process!

  • avatar Loretta Lewis September 30, 2012, 12:11 am

    my sil-pat pan liners forn baking

  • avatar Michelle September 30, 2012, 2:31 am

    Hi, to be honest my favorite kitchen tool right now is actually an app on my phone. It’s called Chef Tap and its changed the way I cook. I can import recipes from almost any website (have many of yours) and then they are saved in my phone. I can save pics and it will link back to the original site.

  • avatar Anna September 30, 2012, 2:47 am

    My favorite kitchen tool is my angled measuring cup. A normal cup shows the standard measurements only when held in the right hand. I’m a lefty and that’s always been an inconvenience. The angled cup is much easier because I only have to look straight down as I’m filling it. Plus I don’t have to stop and squint at eye level to determine if I’ve measured enough. Love this thing.

  • avatar Elizabeth September 30, 2012, 3:44 am

    I liked the DEXAS on facebook

  • avatar Julie September 30, 2012, 8:27 am

    My favorite kitchen tool is my bread knife. I know, sounds insane, but it cuts so well!!!

  • avatar Char James-Tanny September 30, 2012, 11:58 am

    I love my baby whisk. It’s great for making scrambled eggs, vinaigrettes, slurries, and anything else that I mix in a cup.

  • avatar Greg September 30, 2012, 3:23 pm

    You make the best caramel. We still remember that tart! Soooo rich. These look great. The blog is looking really good too. Hmm, favorite tool it’s a tie between the KitchenAid and the Microplane. Also, I followed Dexas on Facebook and Twitter.

  • avatar Amanda T. September 30, 2012, 7:51 pm

    I could not live without a pair of stainless tongs…they get used so often!

  • avatar Izzy September 30, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Love my silpats!

  • avatar Izzy September 30, 2012, 8:12 pm

    Liked Dexas on facebook

  • avatar Izzy September 30, 2012, 8:13 pm

    Followed Dexas on twitter!

  • avatar PoopseyMarie September 30, 2012, 11:09 pm

    I confess!! I am hopelessly addicted to all things kitchen. I can’t help it! My mandolin, mortar and pestle, maybe the Kuhn Rikon knives given to me by my son. Love your blog!

  • avatar Caroline October 1, 2012, 4:09 am

    My favorite tool in the kitchen is my Kitchen Aid. I know its been said before, but its sooo true! <3

  • avatar Nikki October 1, 2012, 4:16 am

    My favorite kitchen tool is definitely my Kitchen Aid!

  • avatar Lyuda October 1, 2012, 2:46 pm

    A good sharp knife. I have yet to find one that was as good as the one I used to have… but someday it will happen again

  • avatar Karla O October 1, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I love my Kitchen-Aid. I can’t imagine life without it!

  • avatar Brenda October 1, 2012, 6:23 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my whisk. You can do so much with a whisk!

  • avatar Katy October 1, 2012, 8:29 pm

    Any of my own tools would be heaven… Currently everything I own is in storage. :(

  • avatar Sharon H. October 1, 2012, 9:47 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is a spreader made by Cutco. It is very versatile; not only does it make sandwich making easy, but I can cut just about anything with it! It is Made in the USA, as well!

  • avatar Sharon H. October 1, 2012, 9:50 pm

    I “like” Dexas on Facebook.

  • avatar Stacia October 2, 2012, 8:26 am

    My kitchen aid mixer!

  • avatar Kim S. October 2, 2012, 11:48 am

    My favorite is my ipad. No more printing out recipes.

    I’m going to try those caramels!

  • avatar Kim S. October 2, 2012, 11:50 am

    Following Dexas on twitter.

  • avatar Lucy V October 2, 2012, 2:03 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my stand mixer. I love it because it does so much of the work for me! :)

  • avatar Nancy October 2, 2012, 2:12 pm

    My absolute favorite kitchen tool is my wok – I cook practically everything in it. In fact, I’m cooking your 40 cloves of garlic chicken recipe tonight for the second time. It’s one of my favorite recipes, so easy and so good. Thank you so much! Enjoy your recipes and wish you much success!

  • avatar lori October 2, 2012, 3:38 pm

    My favorite tool is my my Ove Glove, I use that for everything even bbqing!

  • avatar Kathleen October 2, 2012, 4:44 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is an appliance: my 6qt crockpot. (I have a big family.)

  • avatar Colleen October 2, 2012, 7:33 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is my Silpat! So glad I have that, especially around the holidays, it makes cookie making much more bearable.

  • avatar Karen October 2, 2012, 8:57 pm

    I totally love my Kitchen Aid mixer with a beater my mom gave me for Christmas! It scales the sides of the bowl as it mixes, sort of like a rubber finned beater :o)

  • avatar Candace October 2, 2012, 11:54 pm

    I just got a Blendtec and LOVE it. Healthy smoothies are so easy now! : )

  • avatar Tesa Brasher October 3, 2012, 8:57 am

    My favorite kitchen tool is my Keurig. Even though I haven’t used it in almost 3 weeks do to the Whole Life Challenge I am on, (can’t stand coffee without creamer and sugar and the challenge won’t let me have either) I love having a steaming hot, tasty cup of coffee ready in less than a minute. Yummm just thinking of it now is killing me. 5 weeks to go!

  • avatar Debbie October 3, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Hi Joanne! Thanks for hosting this great giveaway! My favorite tool to use in the kitchen, although I don’t use it every day, is my bread lame (for your readers that might not know, its a fancy word for a tool that slices the top of your bread dough before you put it in the oven). There’s something about using that little thing to make such nice cuts in the dough.

  • avatar Debbie October 3, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I just followed Dexas on Twitter. Thanks!

  • avatar Debbie October 3, 2012, 1:24 pm

    I just liked Dexas on Facebook. Thanks again!

  • avatar melanie October 3, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I love my knives. I chop everything! Love your site too!

  • avatar Laura October 3, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I love my spatula, which is a pampered chef! I love using it for spooning, spreading, scooping, non-staining…I use it every day!

  • avatar dani October 4, 2012, 2:12 pm

    hand blender. i use it for everything from hummus to soups to smoothies to ‘mashed’ cauliflower. it is easy to use and clean! …a good spatula is essential too! the one i currently have is discolored and def. holding the smells–yuck! time for an upgrade! :)

  • avatar Mandy S October 4, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I liked the Dexas facebook page

  • avatar Susan October 4, 2012, 4:22 pm

    I love my ceramic knife (and peeler). Super sharp and cuts pretty much anything!

  • avatar Tommye October 4, 2012, 5:51 pm

    I love my cutco tools also

  • avatar Ann October 5, 2012, 8:17 am

    Blog is looking FAB, girlfriend!

  • avatar Candy October 5, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Even thought it is not actually a utensil, I’m loving my hubby’s mokapot :)

  • avatar Anonymous October 5, 2012, 1:48 pm

    I love my “spider” which is a wonderfully handy tool that originates in Asia. Its great when stir frying, or anything you need to take from one pan or dish to another without the juices.

  • avatar Jessica W October 7, 2012, 3:34 pm

    My Wusthof chef’s knife! I also love my ricer for making mashed potatoes.

  • avatar Erica Kendall October 7, 2012, 8:43 pm

    My spice graters are pretty useful. I don’t use them every day, but they make a huge difference in how my food tastes.

  • avatar Dean October 10, 2012, 5:14 pm

    My KitchenAid. It makes to so easy to whip up a large batch of butter cream icing. The leftover icing stays pretty well in a ziptop bag in the fridge as a quick way to turn ordinary cookies into something spectacular! :D

  • avatar karen October 11, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I love my tongs – for some reason I never used tongs until a couple years ago. Boy was I lame.
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  • avatar Lorrie October 14, 2012, 8:45 am

    My favorite kitchen tools are Longaberger Pottery, everything cooks better in Longaberger.
    They cook so well and clean up wonderfully.

  • avatar wendi bushehry October 14, 2012, 12:03 pm

    My favorite kitchen tool is a toss between a whisk I use for pancake mix and a very sharp knife that cuts tomatoes

  • avatar Lydia October 14, 2012, 5:55 pm

    This recipe comes at a great time.

    For some reason I am unable to find KRAFT CARMELS ANYWHERE. Walmart, Krogers, etc.
    I found little carmel balls made by KRAFT. Tried ‘em – hated ‘em. I put them in a cake and they did not melt…. I will make my own and quit looking.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar Jennifer October 14, 2012, 9:14 pm

    so glad I came across this recipe on PIN – can not wait to try it!

  • avatar Babs October 15, 2012, 2:12 am

    Wow! These look fabulous. Funny the first time I made caramels they turned out perfectly. I didn’t even know they were supposed to be hard. Next time I made them they were a mess. I’ve never been able to do it again. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. Maybe I’ll try it again with help from your tutorial. Love the idea of Pumpkin Caramels! Thanks!

  • avatar Christine October 16, 2012, 8:35 am

    Can the corn syrup be substituted out, perhaps with a light flavored honey or grade A maple syrup? I’m trying to avoid corn products to rule out an intolerance/allergy BUT I Love caramels and I Love pumpkin so these look absolutely dreamy. Thanks for the help.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 16, 2012, 1:35 pm

      Hi Christine, you know, I’ve never tried it. Corn syrup helps prevent crystallization and has a different makeup and consistency than honey and maple syrup. I don’t know how the honey and maple syrup would behave in this recipe, but if you try it, please come back and let us all know how it turns out!

    • avatar Liz October 18, 2013, 2:55 pm

      You can try Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It’s also an inverted sugar syrup, but it’s made from cane and/or beet sugar, not corn. It’s more expensive, and has a less neutral (but nice) flavor. Also a good note for folks outside the US where corn syrup is not available. Other liquid sweeteners do not have the same properties as corn syrup and may not lead to the same finished texture. Candy can be finicky.

  • avatar Lisa October 18, 2012, 9:30 am

    Hi, these look really good, I’m planning to make them later today. You don’t mention how to store them. Can they be wrapped? How are they stored so they don’t stick together? I am planning to take them to a party Saturday, so I would like a nice presentation. Thank you

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 18, 2012, 10:40 am

      Hi Lisa, If you’d like to wrap them, you can wrap them individually in little pieces of wax or parchment paper, that would be cute! I brought these to a party myself, and I cut them into squares (as shown in the photo) and I laid them all out on a really beautiful cutting board, and sprinkled them with some really pretty quality sea salts. Just make sure that you keep them in the fridge until serving if you’re going to present on a board, because they get a looser shape when they warm up to much (then again, I’m in Florida and it’s still mid 80s here, so if you’re in a cooler place it should be okay). If you wrap them in the little papers, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. I bet you can find some cute candy wrappers at like a Walmart or something too!

    • avatar Liz October 18, 2013, 2:57 pm

      Craft stores like Michael’s and Jo-Ann sell Wilton brand candy wrappers that are metallic 4 X 4 squares. I’ve wrapped other caramels in them, and they’re perfect. Wax paper is nice and rustic. Either works well for parties and gift-giving.

  • avatar Mary October 20, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I had never tried to make caramel or any other candy before. It tasted delicious, but will not get hard in the refrigerator. Is this normally a result of cooking it too long, or not long enough after adding the pumpkin?

  • avatar Annie October 28, 2012, 3:36 am

    This recipe looks great! But corn syrup doesn’t exist where I live (Italy)… do you know of any reliable substitute? I’ve used golden syrup as a substitute in baking before, and it works decently, but I’m not sure if it will work in this case.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 28, 2012, 3:42 pm

      Hi Annie, how cool! Where in Italy do you live? My husband and I are planning to go to Italy next week. Not 100% sure where we’re going yet, but I think we’ll go down to Venice from Aviano, then to Bologna, Florence, and Rome. We’ll see! Anyway, golden syrup from what I understand is just a sugar syrup that’s been browned a bit, so I don’t think it would be a good substitute sadly :( I honestly don’t know though since I’ve never been able to get my hands on any and see what it can do. You could try the recipe here without the corn syrup, though I’m not sure how it would turn out. Caramels are so finicky :(

      • avatar Annie October 28, 2012, 3:45 pm

        Thanks for the reply! I live near Aosta, in Alps of the NW. Have fun in Italy, it’s great here this time of year! Lots of chestnuts, mushrooms, and fresh pressed olive oil. If I manage to track down corn syrup I’ll try this recipe out.

        • avatar Joanne Ozug October 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

          Oh cool, right up there in the corner. My husband and I are VERY excited to visit. We are flying into the air base in Aviano and will venture out from there. It may be a little cold but at least the place won’t be overrun with tourists =) Can’t wait to EAT!!!! lol.

    • avatar Liz October 18, 2013, 2:59 pm

      Golden syrup is also an inverted sugar syrup but it’s made from cane sugar or beet sugar instead of corn. It SHOULD work similarly, but I’ve never personally tried it, as it’s much more expensive in the US.

  • avatar Jessica Moore October 29, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Just wanted you to know that I’ve made several of your dessert recipes (all of which are great). This recipe, though, is by far my favorite :) I’ve already made four batches since you posted it, and everyone that has tried them has raved over them. I even had a request from a very pregnant close friend of mine, for a LATE night delivery because she loved them so much. Anyway, just wanted you to know that I love your site so much! Thanks!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 30, 2012, 8:10 am

      Hi Jessica, I am SO happy you love these caramels so much and that you’ve made them successfully so many times!!! Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me. And LOL about your pregnant friend….I wonder what my pregnancy cravings will be like when I have kids. Probably pretty intense! They’re so bad already lol. Happy cooking!!!

  • avatar Meleiana December 4, 2012, 11:10 am

    Hi! I have made these twice now and they are delicious. My first batch burned… the second turned out great. I do have a question about texture though.. Does the pumpkin give it a slightly gritty texture? I didn’t stir it at all and it looks like yours so I was just wanting to make sure that I was doing it right?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 4, 2012, 11:30 am

      Hi Meleiana, I’m so glad you got it right the 2nd time! The pumpkin definitely makes the caramels less smooth than if you don’t include the pumpkin. Same thing when I make pumpkin whipped cream. It’s not as “silky” of a texture if you know what I mean. So yes, that’s normal! It’s hard to strike a balance because you want the flavor of the pumpkin, but the more you add, the more the texture changes. If you wanted a smoother texture in exchange for less pumpkin flavor, you could certainly add less next time. Happy cooking!

  • avatar Madilyn Bechtel December 5, 2012, 12:21 am

    How can I tell if my pan is thick enough? I strongly dislike trying recipes and then have them not work because my utensils were not up to par. Is there an obvious way to tell pan thickness and if it will be thick enough for caramel?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 5, 2012, 9:16 am

      Hi Madilyn, do you know what brand and kind of pot you have? As long as it’s stainless steel and not a thin aluminum one you should be fine. The problem with thin pans is the bottom can burn very easily, so if you haven’t noticed any problems with the bottom burning for sauces or caramels, you should be good.

  • avatar Beverly Kendrick December 6, 2012, 10:58 pm

    I don’t use corn syrup. I love pumpkin. Are your recipes gluten free? I have to eat gluten free. i would love to make your sweet potato doughnuts too. Bob’s Red Mill has a potato four bread mix. I haven’t tried it yet. I wonder if it would work.

    Thank you.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 7, 2012, 9:43 am

      Hi Beverly, you can certainly make peanut brittle without corn syrup, the texture might be a little different and the corn syrup helps reduce the chance of crystallization, but as long as you don’t stir (just swirl gently if needed), you should be okay.

      My recipes aren’t all gluten-free. Some happen to work out that way (and have you seen the gluten free section of my recipe index? That might be a good place to start, it’s fairly big).

      I haven’t tried Bob’s Red Mill potato four bread mix…actually I’ve never seen it before! Sounds awesome though. I like Bob’s Red Mill products in general.

  • avatar Karen January 11, 2013, 11:47 am

    Canned pumpkin “grit”

    Just baked pumpkin breads with Libby’s pumpkin. Every other bite has a “crunch to it.
    The company says they wash the pumpkins multiple times, and screen the pulp as well but sometimes sand and shell still gets in.

    Have you ever noticed this? Any suggestions?

    LOVE your site!

    Thanks, Karen

  • avatar Liz October 18, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Hi, I’m planning to try these tonight for a pumpkin carving party tomorrow. I notice there are comments about the “gritty” pumpkin texture. Have you ever tried putting the pumpkin through a food mill or similar? I don’t have one (I don’t even have a stand mixer!), but just curious as to whether that would help, or if it’s already finer in texture than that. I just made Earl Grey Caramels last weekend and they were a hit and I can’t wait to try these. I love your pictures and clear directions.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 19, 2013, 7:58 am

      Hi Liz, I haven’t, but I’m not sure that would help (if you try it let us know how it goes). I just don’t think pumpkin will ever be as silky as caramel, so it’s bound to change the texture in exchange for pumpkin flavor. Honestly the texture never bothered me though.


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